Category Archives: Jenn’s Life

My New Blog: A Learning Wife

To reflect the new chapter of life that I have entered into, I have started a new blog: “A Learning Wife”.

From the “About” section on that blog:

I started this blog to document & chronicle the things that I am learning as a new wife, hence the name “A Learning Wife”.  I am learning so much already as a wife! I am learning how to love my husband well, how to handle working FT while keeping the home and being a wife, new recipes, more about Jesus and His Gospel, how to manage life, and so much more! While this blog will have an array of different topics posted, it is my hope and prayer that this will be of encouragement to other women that are single, courting, engaged, or newly married like myself! By no means is this blog a statement of me having it together! Oh no! This blog is a means of showing of God’s grace to me and my need for Him daily as I learn, learn, and learn. I’ll be sharing articles, recipes, what I am reading in the Word and in books, sermons & messages, cooking methods… all things domestic & all things Gospel centered!

Feel free to follow and subscribe to that blog! I will not be posting at this one anymore, Life in Return.

 

Sincerely,

Jenn | http://alearningwife.wordpress.com

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It’s All a Matter of Interpretation (via Urban Resurgence)

This is definitely a worthy read, brothers and sisters.

It's All a Matter of Interpretation It’s all a matter of interpretation. This is the mantra of our non-absolutists friends and also, unfortunately, many in the church when it comes to the correct interpretation of Scripture.  I say unfortunately because there are many who do not believe in the absolute truth of Scripture.  Once you remove the idea of absolutes, authority is lost as well.  Therefore, the Scriptures mean whatever the reader desires them to mean, usually to coddle the … Read More

via Urban Resurgence

In the Beginning…

Thanks to the suggestion of a dear friend, I decided to start a chronological Bible reading plan. I expected the plan to be the 66 books of the Bible, but in a different order. Not so. The plan takes you from Genesis 1-11 to Job and then back to Genesis. I definitely didn’t expect that, but it does make me excited to go through the plan to see how everything unfolds in chronological order.

Last night’s reading was from Genesis 1-3. I have read Genesis MANY times. But this time as I read, I considered things that I’d never considered before. And then there are things that I’d thought about, but never really took the time to think through. In this post, I want to share my observations and thoughts from Genesis 1-3.

Genesis 1
When God speaks, nothing has an option of rebelling. When He declares something to happen, nothing and no one can thwart that or keep it from happening.

What God makes / creates is good. We humans have perverted it.

The things that we as people worship were created / made by God. These things were put in place to serve us, not to BE served and worshipped. For instance, the sun, moon, and stars were put in place to be for signs and for seasons, days, years, day, and night.

God’s original plan for man is laid out in Gen. 1:28 – “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” How far we have fallen from this.

God created a place in which He provided all we needed and more. His provision is so great and massive in Genesis 1. The food, the lights, etc. – God is SO wise and all is perfectly thought out. God is never slippin’. He is meticulous in His planning. Nothing is done haphazardly. However, His good and perfect original design is ruined because of the Fall.

Genesis 2
Verse 7 (then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground…) —> Psalm 103:14 (For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.)

Life can only come from the LORD (v7 —> John 1:3-4).

The LORD allows Adam to name the animals. Although the LORD had created them, He graciously allowed Adam to take part in what He was doing (v19-20), which also further shows the dominion that the LORD had given man over animals.

Genesis 2:18, 20 —> ESV Study Bible commentary: “Helper” is one who supplies strength in the area that is lacking in “the helped”… A wife is not her husband’s clone but complements him.

Verse 24 implies that marriage and reproduction were to be the pattern for life by using the words father, mother, and wife.

Verse 24 also says that the man and woman shall be one flesh, which the ESV Study Bible says is consummated by sexual intercourse. This made me think – in prior promiscuity of God’s people before salvation, how many people have we come together with outside of God’s perfect plan for sex? May we only ever become one flesh with the man (if you are a woman) or woman (if you are a man) that the LORD provides as spouse.

Genesis 3

The serpent – still a created being no matter HOW crafty he was. Verse 1 states “… that the LORD had made”.

One thing to note is that in his conversation with Eve, the serpent does not use God’s personal name with her. This helps to foster a sense of detachment.

In verse 1, the serpent misquotes what God actually said. What does this do for Eve? What does this do when it happens to us?

In verse 3, Eve misquotes what God said. In addition, she didn’t name the tree AND she also adds a piece of “instruction”. Why? Maybe in her mind, she thought it to be unfair so she wanted to maximize the perceived unfairness? Not sure.

Verses 4 and 5 paint an inaccurate portrait of God as being insecure, a tyrant, and a liar. How many times do we let the serpent speak these lies to us as well?

Adam and Eve rebelled against God and obeyed one of His created beings. This has not stopped. We still do this, even to this day. Although we don’t speak with serpents, we do speak with serpents in other forms that coerce and entice us to rebel against our Creator.

Verse 6:
(cf. James 1:14-15)
Eve saw that the tree was…
good for food — But God had already provided them with the food they needed.
a delight to the eyes — Lust and discontentment with all else that the Lord had provided has crept in.
desired to make one wise — Eve wanted wisdom outside of God; she depended on the fruit of a tree. It sounds foolish, but what are we depending on to bring results outside of the LORD?

Adam was to communicate and protect and lead his wife, yet he allowed her to entice him to sin. This picture is reversed. Instead of Adam leading his wife, he allows himself to be led by her into sin. He’d heard what God said; God had communicated it directly to him, yet he was with his wife, allowed her to be led away from the LORD by sin, and also allowed himself to be led away as well.

The Text shows no struggle; they were very willing to give in to the serpent’s sinful suggestions and his invitation to rebel against God. May we realize this in our own lives. Is there a struggle? Or do we carelessly answer the serpent’s invitation?

V7 – They tried to fix their mistake somewhat. This made me wonder – Are the fig leaves symbolic of them trying to provide their own righteousness by covering up their sin?

In verse 9, although the woman led her husband into sin, God addresses the man.

In verse 12, we see blame-shifting. Not only does Adam blame Eve (though he was responsible for his own sin), he also, in a sense, blames the LORD by saying, “the woman You gave me”. In verse 13, the woman blames the serpent. Neither party takes responsibility for their sin. Neither answers correctly to God’s question. Neither takes the blame. They both blame another party for their sinful actions. How often do we do this?! May we always hold ourselves responsible for the sins we commit!

When God addresses them in verses 14-19, He addresses them in the order that the Fall happened — serpent, woman, man.

In verse 21, the LORD God makes skins from animals for Adam and his wife. The LORD’s provisions are always MUCH better than what we can do. And though God curses them, He still loves them and cares for them deeply. He is the same now. Though we sin, and though God may discipline us, He still loves us and has not stopped, and will not stop. He still graciously provides. He is a beautiful lover of His children. He loves us well and cares for us deeply.

Verse 22-24 further show this. God was very merciful to not allow them to continue in this state forever. He sends them away for their own good although I’m sure they did not perceive that.

———————–

I really enjoyed my time in Genesis 1-3 and look forward to 4-7 this evening. May the Lord be pleased to continue to teach me His Word.

How Long, O Lord…?

O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath. Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD–how long? Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise? I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.
Psalms 6:1-6 ESV

Ahh, the Squirrel!



DSC03920, originally uploaded by Jenn T. | lifeinreturn.

I only shared this dream with a few friends earlier this week, but figured – hey, why not share it with others? It was pretty funny, and the sad part was that I wasn’t even asleep… I was daydreaming. Here is the email:

Dreamt that two squirrels came up to me holding hands and asked me what the Gospel was. So I sat down on the ground and explained it to them. As I was explaining it more creatures came – birds and bugs and other animals. When I finished they were all crying and repentant. The wasps were sorry for stinging people and vowed to not do it again. And then I was like – but guys the Gospel is for humans only. And so they got upset. And I explained to them that they were bad because we are. And that was it. Thought it was pretty funny. Even more so funny bc I wasn’t really like asleep when I imagined this scenario. I need help lololol!!!

The Burning Question

So here comes the question of all questions:

Does anyone actually read this blog? lol!

I haven’t posted in a while, but would like to add more content of a diverse nature. I’ve recently decided to go gluten free and have incorporated much more produce into my life (and am truly understanding the value of organic foods over non-organic!) so I’d like to write about that and share the info I am learning, but yes, the question remains:

Does anyone read this?

And another question – any suggestions on material that I can write about that would be beneficial to ‘the public’?

Pigs or Jesus?

And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
Matthew 8:28-34 ESV

They valued the loss of their pigs more than Jesus which is shown by their asking Him to leave. They didn’t want to get to know the Messiah, and if they recognized who He was, they didn’t care. The pigs would have been a source of food, yes, but this showed that they valued their food more than Jesus. I am reminded of Matthew 6:25 and Matthew 4:4.

Turning this inward, I asked myself:
* Are there things which I mourn the loss of that I value more than Jesus?
* Are there any areas where, by my actions, I’m asking Him to leave?
*Do I care more about / value other things more than I value Jesus?

Praying this encourages and challenges.

… But I Thought You Were a Christian?

As a Christian, there are things that we will struggle with that we don’t want to admit to. It seems that mental problems are high on that list. To some, it seems nonsensical and almost a paradox that a Christian would struggle with panic / anxiety attacks and/or depression. “But aren’t you a Christian though?”… Maybe that is why it is so hard to come to grips with it when you are the one suffering through them. I, JT, am one such sufferer. Today, as I try to recover from last night’s episode, I’ve cried a lot. I’ve begged and pleaded with God according to His great mercy and grace. I have tried my best to maintain a demeanor that would foster better habits and an environment that won’t allow a panic / anxiety attack to even come forth.

It has been a hard day, and it is only 4:06p.

Can I just say this – I hate it. This is a miserable way to live. I have struggled off and on with depression since I was about 14, and as an adult, I still deal with it although not as majorly, but now I have become the acquaintance of panic / anxiety… oh, and add stress to this list.

It is a vicious cycle that sucks the life out of me and reenforces fear which of course starts everything back up. And for a touch of irony, I was reading a book on dealing with fear in a Biblical way when last night’s episode happened.

How I long to be free from these things in this lifetime. How I desire to not have my heart race at 2a while I sit on my bed helpless. How I long to have total control over my mind, and have it submit to Jesus, instead of running haywire and causing my body to follow suit.

Oh, Jesus, help me. Deliver me from this. Heal me. Have compassion and pity toward me like You did the sick and lame in the Gospel of Matthew. Look at me in that way and heal me. All You have to do is say the Word and it is done. Please, Lord, have mercy and grace on me.

Notes from Matthew, Chapters 16-19

During my reading in Matthew tonight, I was convicted in many areas, and grateful for the Lord God teaching me His Word. Tonight’s reading was Matthew 16-19. In tune with my usual, I am sharing my thoughts and application from those chapters.

Matthew 16:15-17
To know and believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the Living God is not something that we’d just know in the flesh. This is revealed to us by the Father.

Matthew 16:23
We become a hindrance to God when we set our minds on the things of man and not on the things of God.

Matthew 17:16-21
My faith in Jesus must function properly or it will be weak.

Matthew 18:3-4
To be humble like a child, this consists of childlike trust, vulnerability, and the inability to advance my own cause apart from the help, direction, and resources of my Heavenly Father (taken from the notes for this verse in my ESV Study Bible).

Matthew 18:6
Causing others to sin is a SERIOUS matter.

Matthew 18:8-9
Making war on sin is serious and sometimes drastic measures must be employed.

Matthew 18:15-17
This passage lays out the proper way to deal with sin, offense, and conflict in the Body. Step 1: Go to your brother or sister ALONE. If they do not listen – Step 2: Take 1 or 2 others with you. If they still do not listen – Step 3: Tell it to the church. If they do not listen to the church – Step 4: Let them be as a Gentile or a tax collector (one who is deliberately rebellious against God). How many times have I seen this NOT be the case in the Body. Fleshly works are more often the resolve than the route that God gives us to follow. Gossip runs amok along with backbiting while holding grudges that cultivate bitterness.

Matthew 18:24-35
The believer in Jesus has been forgiven of SO MUCH SIN! What we have done to God and against God is absolutely heinous! How dare we have an unforgiving heart against a brother or sister?! We’re COMMANDED to forgive. It is NOT an option. And not only are we commanded to forgive, but to forgive from the HEART.

Matthew 19:14
The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to children.

Matthew 19:25-26
There’s no one on earth that is too far gone to the point that they cannot be saved.

I pray this is of use to any readers of this blog. May Christ be seen, may He be glorified, may we pursue Holiness.

Grace & peace.